papinian wrote:Schools like Ravenstone which have a largely middle class parent base can often coast along without having good teaching because they benefit from parental support of children's learning (both by the parents themselves and also by paid tutoring etc.).
I'm not sure where this assumption that Ravenstone is largely middle class comes from. Have you been to the school? There is a very diverse mix of children at Ravenstone which reflects the local community. Yes, this includes children of middle class parents, but they only send their children there because they visit the school, see it in action and are happy to send their children there because they see that it an overwhelmingly positive and inclusive place.
papinian wrote:As I said earlier, perhaps the issue is that there is too much focus on all of the above and insufficient focus on English, maths and science. At the end of the day, very very few children will make a living at athletics, swimming, running or music. However, better English or maths skills coming out of primary school will always assist a child at secondary and beyond.
The activities that were being referred to by Ofsteadbollocks are almost exclusively extra-curricular activities, performed out-of-school-hours. These are not done to the detriment of core academic studies. I wouldn't send my kids there if they were (and I am lucky enough to have the option of sending my kids to private school if I wised to). It's just evidence of the committed nature of the teachers - I see no coasting.
papinian wrote:It's interesting to compare Ravenstone with other similar schools. Two figures that stood out for me are:
(i) a high level of students with a statement of special educational needs (over 16%) - significantly higher than other schools (Does anyone have any idea why this is the case?)
(ii) a higher percentage of expenditure on teaching assistants (22%) (which may or may not be related to (i) above).
Perhaps the reason, again, is that this reflects the mix of the local community? Also, the Head does not shirk away from the responsibility of having difficult children - they are welcomed, included and supported very well (hence the correspondingly high number of teaching assistants).